I gaped at her. Sorry, I didn’t mean to. But under the heat of the Siem Reap sun, and the vastness of Angkor Wat, I was sweating like a pig. But there she stood, her long, straight black hair as clean looking, her face fresh and her body wrapped in long sleeves, pants and a summer hat.
Seriously! I huffed under my breath, blowing my curly hair over my sweaty, shiny forehead.
“How do they do it?” my hostelmate gasped out, her neck dripping in sweat, her blonde hair tied to the back of her head.
“Tell me about it,” I groaned. And we headed out into the long entrance of the Angkor Wat.
If you think touring the Angkor Wat is all fun and pretty, then you’re wrong.
Or maybe, that’s just me. Except those people who are wrapped up but never actually sweat, the Angkor Wat circuit is tiring as hell.
So, then came the P8 sale with no fuel surcharge of Cebu Pacific last August 2012. I paid a whopping Php 1300 for a RT ticket Manila-Siem Reap-Manila Sept 3 – 12. Great deal, right?
When I said I wanted to see the Angkor Wat that day, I meant it.
The day before, I had already gone to the Angkor Wat for the sunset, allowing me to secure my day pass for the next day.
A day pass to the Angkor Wat temples will cost $20 or about Php 900. A three day pass will cost $40. I didn’t really have any intention on doing the other circuit though, even if I had time. Good thing too. By the end of my Siem Reap temple series of articles, you’ll know why.
Despite having enjoyed Angkor Wat during sunset, I still wanted to see it at its most famous time – sunrise – where seeing the Angkor Wat temples is a requirement. And where seeing everyone seeing the Angkor Wat at sunset is already a tourist attraction.
See what I mean?
In reality, the Angkor Wat is the tourist attraction at sunset, while at sunrise, the people is the attraction. I’m kidding, the Angkor Wat is beautiful at both times.
Anyway, my first impression of the Angkor Wat before was that it was just a temple. We visit, you see and that’s it. One temple just there.
But when the tuktuk driver parked outside, that impression was immediately washed away. Especially because getting into the Angkor Wat is already a looooong walk.
No, like seriously. And under the heat of Siem Reap sun, well, it was a trudging long walk.
Getting up at sunrise to take a head start would be one way to escape a few hours of involuntary tanning.
Since the front part of the Angkor Wat was currently under renovation, we had to go down on one side to climb a steep staircase back into the temple.
By the way, the Angkor Wat temple is nothing like you would imagine. Okay, so I didn’t really imagine it much, but it is definitely not your average temple.
Inside the temple was HUGE.
There were writings engraved on the walls. Inside the Angkor Wat was some kind of structure and architecture that made it look like the perfect background for a video game. And yes, there we are, looking like we’re characters from Street Fighter.
The structures were exquisite, still refined after so many years and absolutely stunning.
There were levels and levels of various floors all over the temple. If you are not afraid to venture out or fall over steep, tiny steps, you could end up with an interesting photo over the gazillion stairs in the Angkor Wat.
But nah, I was just delighted to be there. Stairs are not exactly my forte.
There were monks inside too. Some were praying. Some were posing for photographers. One was feeding a monkey.
By the time we had circled the Angkor Wat, I was exhausted. And those stores right outside the temple? It was definitely convenient.
My tip? Go to the Angkor Wat at around 4pm to watch the sunset. Then wake up early the next day to do the sunrise. Both times are worth it.
The tuktuk to the Angkor Wat temple cost $15 (Php 650) for a sunrise tour, since there was three of us (from the hostel), we only paid $5 (Php 217) each. A sunset tour cost only $7 (Php 304) and there was also three of us (from the hostel), so I paid only $2.3 or Php 100.
Not bad, huh?